Selected Stories from
The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration 2011/2012
— Stories dated 1940–1948 —

Billy the Goat

Fellowship, Alabama, USA; c. 1941

My great-great-great-aunt Katie Thomas was a sophisticated, stylish, fashionable woman. However, she lived in a rural area. Even so, one day on her farm in 1941, she was wearing a satin skirt, her favorite top, and high heels. She was inside her house, folding her small, but beautiful, selection of clothes. Suddenly she had to use the restroom. At that time, people there didn’t have electricity or indoor restrooms. They had outhouses.

As Aunt Katie was walking to the outhouse, tripping in her heels, her husband’s—Uncle Will Thomas’s—mean, ferocious, wild billy goat, Billy, came running as fast as a bullet, straight for her. He had big horns and white scruffy hair. Aunt Katie ran as fast as a flash of lightning straight into the outhouse and slammed the old wooden door. Billy crashed into it.

Aunt Katie was trapped inside the outhouse! She called, “Catherine, Mary Ann, help me!” As she desperately yelled for her cousin, Catherine Thomas, and her friend, Mary Ann Strachan, to help her, she heard a loud banging and crashing sound on the outside of the outhouse. Then all of a sudden, two sharp horns tore through the door, leaving holes in it. Aunt Katie was terrified.

Finally Mary Ann and Catherine arrived. Billy ran straight for them. Both girls leaped to the top of the fence and jumped down on the other side of it and got rocks. They jumped back on top of the old fence and threw the rocks at Billy. Aunt Katie had opened the door just a little, slowly getting out. Billy darted at the door once more. Aunt Katie quickly got back inside the outhouse. The girls kept throwing bigger rocks at Billy, trying to distract him so Aunt Katie could escape. In the meantime, Billy kept head-butting the door harder than before.

Aunt Katie yelled across the yard, “Mary Ann, go and get Will, and tell him to come and get his wild goat to stop ramming the door.” Instead of going to get him, Mary Ann sneaked home, because she didn’t want to get hurt by the insane goat. Finally Aunt Katie got so hot inside the outhouse—and so mad because Billy hadn’t stopped crashing into the door—that she swung the door open and dashed after Billy, chasing him halfway down the road, kicking him on his bottom.

Then Uncle Will came walking up from the back of the house. Aunt Katie was sitting on the ground, looking at him and the goat, furious and tired. Billy was far from her, looking terrified. Catherine looked at all three of them and knew that something bad was about to happen. Then Uncle Will said, “How was y’all’s day today?” Aunt Katie pulled him inside the house and started yelling at him.

After that day, Billy never came close to Aunt Katie, and whenever Aunt Katie was around Billy, he always acted like he had never done anything bad in his whole life.

Brianna Jones; Alabama, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


The Six Fiancés

Denver, Colorado, USA; c. 1942

My great-grandmother Helen Milstein grew up in Denver. She was youngest of her siblings. She, unlike most girls at the time, went to college. Just before America joined World War II, she was a construction agent and was dating six men. Her construction business started working for the army just before the war. Every one of her boyfriends was asked to leave for the war.

The first one came to her and said, “I am leaving to join the war, but before I leave, I have a question for you: Will you marry me?”

Helen thought to herself, “If I say no, he may not have any motivation to live, so I will say yes,” and she replied, “Yes,” just before he left.

The same happened with the rest of her boyfriends. Every day they were away at the war, she wrote to them all.

One day one of her fiancés came home. As she wondered what to say to him, he said, “I am sorry, but I don’t think the engagement will work out.”

And she replied, “I sadly agree,” in the most polite voice she could muster.

When her second fiancé came home, she said, “I am really upset, but I don’t believe that the engagement will work out.”

“Are you sure?” he replied.

“Well, I said yes because I didn’t know if you would live if I did not say yes.”

After all of her fiancés came back, she told them the entire story.

Two years later she met my great-grandpa. On their first date she told him the entire story.

“That is hilarious,” he said. “When did you last talk to them?”

“I talk to them all the time.”

“Are you very good friends with them?”


Five years later she got married to my great-grandpa.

This story is important because it is one of the only stories about my great-grandma, and it has taught me to think about other people’s welfare, because she only got engaged to the men so that they would live through the war.

Tristan Hecht; Colorado, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


One More Survivor

Glod, Romania; Poland; Germany; 1942

“Get over here, you filthy Jew!” the German officer said. “We’re going to take you and your family to a nice place.”

But Harry, my great-uncle, knew it was not a nice place. He knew he was going to a concentration camp. He was separated from his sister Freydel. He thought she went to the gas chambers.

“Okay, you stupid Jews, get into two lines!” said the officer.

“Go be with your wife,” Harry said to his father. They were in a deadly concentration camp; Auschwitz was its name. But what Harry didn’t know was that the line his parents were in went to the gas chambers. He never saw his parents again.

Auschwitz was not a nice place. It was dirty, had barracks that they slept in, and of course there were electric fences. All Harry did was carry around dead bodies and then throw them into big piles. But Harry felt sure that one day he would be free.

September 25, 1942: Harry was being shipped to another concentration camp. He would get out of that dirty death hole Auschwitz and hopefully go to a better place.

“Get into the wagon, you Jew. We’re going to take you to a wonderful place.”

Harry did what he was told, but he shouldn’t have. He was going to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He had heard it was far worse than Auschwitz.

April 7, 1945: The Germans were losing the war! Harry was going to be free! Later that week, the Russians came and liberated the Jews in the camp. Harry gave a last glance at the camp. It wasn’t much different from Auschwitz. After the Russians opened the gates, Harry and the other prisoners all ran out.

But the Germans weren’t done. They popped out of the bushes with fully automatic rifles. BLAM! Harry heard—and watched—as a middle-aged man fell to the ground with a bullet in his head. Harry then heard three shots near him.

Harry heard his remaining friends scream as he fell to the ground, “Harry! Are you all right?”

Harry woke up the next day in an infirmary. It was a small room that was filled with people and many beds. It was very hot. The doctor told him that he had been shot in the arm and twice in the leg. Harry got up and went around asking if anyone had seen anyone in his family, but they all said no.

After a few days, Harry’s sister Freydel found him in the infirmary! She was his only surviving sibling. They talked awhile, and Freydel said she would get food, but Harry never heard from her again. He heard she was poisoned by rat poison. Harry went to America by boat and made a living with his uncle.

This story is important to me because if great-uncle Harry hadn’t survived, I would be selfish and I wouldn’t care about how difficult life is. He told me that if this ever happens again, we should fight back and not surrender.

Caleb Wedgle; Colorado, USA


The Escape

Munkacs, Hungary; 1944

Gustav Schonfeld prays to forget his dark past. He tries to focus only on memories filled with picnics in the park, nights sitting around the piano, and family meals prepared by his mother. Those were happier times, fun times, family times, and times he likes to remember. However, those happier times changed without warning.

A simple knock at his front door changed his life forever. The Hungarian gendarme on the other side of that door harshly shouted, “Open the door! You’re being arrested for violation of religious beliefs.” Before there was time to respond, his front door burst open, and in marched ten armed soldiers. They immediately dragged his grandmother, mother, brother, father, and him into the street and forced them into a truck. No screaming or begging for them to stop was heard. No level of resistance worked against these heavily armed soldiers. Throughout that night, the soldiers collected other terrified and bewildered Jewish neighbors. They were forced to sit in silence or face a machine gun placed inches from their face.

Eventually, they stopped at a train station, where everyone was forced to board an overcrowded boxcar. Gustav remembers holding on tightly to his family members in order to stay with them. Thereafter, they traveled in the freezing and cramped boxcar for hours, without rest, food, or water. It was horrifying, terrifying, and most of all, unexplainable.

After what seemed like days, the train finally stopped. Gustav, only ten years old, was scared. He saw large buildings with smoke billowing out of chimney stacks. He heard screaming and crying coming from those buildings. He saw sickly people being pushed around by soldiers with shotguns. As lines were being formed, his father grabbed him and whispered, “Tell them you’re sixteen. It will save your life.” While it did save his life, that was the last day Gustav would see his younger brother and grandmother.

In the concentration camp, Gustav was separated from his family and housed in a 300-man overcrowded building. He was forced to sleep on wooden bunk beds without bedding, and often go without food. He worked long hours and got very little sleep. Eventually, men started disappearing from his cabin. Gustav didn’t know if they went to another building, a different camp, or worse.

One night, without explanation, the eleven remaining men in his building were lined up outside. Gustav knew this meant the firing squad—and his death. As the men gathered into a circle, Gustav moved to the middle. The guns started firing, and all the men fell, including Gustav. Luckily, Gustav was not shot. Instead, he faked his death and later that night escaped.

Gustav eventually immigrated to the United States, where he made significant accomplishments in medicine, including serving as chairman of the Department of Medicine at Washington University and making significant contributions in medical research. Most important, he leaves a legacy of a wonderful wife, two sons, one daughter, three granddaughters, and three grandsons. Without his bravery and courage, the world would have missed a medical and philanthropic marvel.

Katie Korein, granddaughter of Gustav’s best friend; Missouri, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


The Definition of a Nightmare

Karlsdorf, Serbia,* Yugoslavia; c. 1940s

The time and place was Yugoslavia in the 1940s. Many years before World War II, Germans had swarmed into Yugoslavia to live there. After World War II, however, a different situation emerged. Russians arrived and kicked Germans out of Yugoslavia and put the Slavic power back in Yugoslavia. And the Slavs remembered—they remembered the Germans taking their land and their property. So they imprisoned Germans in concentration camps. Unfortunately, my grandpa and his mom were put into two such camps.

Although my grandpa’s family had been ethnic Germans** living in Yugoslavia for over 250 years, they were still put in camps, the first of which was the worst. The first year they were in an aircraft hangar with about 1,000 other people, which made up their whole town. They were given just about the daily minimum of food their bodies needed. Sometimes, when the guards weren’t looking, my grandpa would run up to the fence and someone would slip him some bacon. He didn’t have time for much more though. If he stayed there too long, a guard might notice him. Thankfully that didn’t happen. For nearly a whole year he lived under those conditions, and for a nine-year-old boy, it’s a miracle he made it out alive.

After about one year, the Slavic government realized that what they were doing was considered genocide. The government relocated the German prisoners to a town not far from the border of Romania. They also lessened the border patrols, which meant fewer guards watching and circling the camp. Even as a boy, my grandpa understood: He had to escape.

Finally the time came. One day when no guards were looking, my grandpa and his mom ran across the border to Romania, heading to Munich, Germany. To get to Munich, they had to cross through three countries: Romania, Hungary, and Austria. Romania and Hungary, the first two countries, my grandpa and his mom passed through with ease. However, when they reached Austria, something went wrong. The Austrians, realizing that my grandpa and his mom were fugitives, threw them in jail, where they stayed for about a month. Then the Austrians, finding they were trying to get home after escaping from a concentration camp, freed them and allowed them to continue to Munich.

In the end, my grandpa safely reached Munich with his mom. Several years later, they came to America. It is estimated that at the beginning of World War II there were over 400,000 ethnic Germans in Yugoslavia. About half of them left during or immediately after the war. After the camps, only around 10,000 ethnic Germans were left.*** Thankfully, my grandpa was one of the few that made it out alive.

* Serbia is now an independent republic.

** Ethnic Germans are people who follow many German customs, even though their family might not have lived in Germany for many years.

*** Estimates of the number of people who died in the camps, and the number who remained, vary widely.

Nick Hugeri; Arizona, USA



Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA; c. 1945–1946

It’s 1945, and my great-grandfather is in Hawaii addressing his latest letter to his family in south Alabama. After months of hard work in the North Atlantic and South Pacific during World War II, he will be among the last of the troops to go home. He is in the United States Navy, and it is more convenient to send the ground and air troops home first. As he sends the letter, he dreams about going home and seeing his family again. Little does he know that he will spend another eighteen grueling months on the humid, intolerable island.

Days later, he gets a response from his sister, telling him about the latest happenings at home. He suddenly hears rattling in the envelope. He reaches in and grabs a handful of peanut seeds. They may be just peanuts to you, but to him they are a link to his family and home. He sprints to his quarters and finds a space outside to plant the peanuts.

He plants the seeds in a small plot behind his barracks. Each day, he tends to the plants, thinks about his family, and wonders how long he’ll be stuck there. A tropical island may seem like paradise to some people, but not to him. All he wants is to go home and enjoy his family traditions, such as Thanksgiving dinner and an Easter feast. But he has no idea when he’ll go home.


The peanut plants have finally gone to seed and died, and the next generation of plants is growing. He has given some of the seeds to his neighbors and has shown them how to grow peanuts. Months have passed, and the peanuts are prospering. Thanks to his guidance, several neighbors have started their own peanut gardens. Although some are skeptical, many Hawaiians are excited to have an inexpensive and delicious new food to add to their diet.

Later, a message arrives from the United States military: He will be able to enter the United States in two weeks. He is so excited to go home and see his family again. My great-grandfather was important because he introduced Hawaii to a delicious and nutritious plant that is loved all over the world.

Shelby Lloyd; Alabama, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


The Attic Attack

Port Norris, New Jersey, USA; c. 1945

Sitting on the porch, my grandfather Frank Schubert waved goodbye to his parents as they drove away with all the rest of his family. He had a long day ahead of him. With no school, a long day was just what he wanted—time to play and eat, and lots of stuff to do.

Frank was happy. He went inside to listen to his records of Hank Williams and Crazy Otto, and read a book. Then he stepped outside for some fresh air. *Sniff, sniff.* Cookies? *Snifffffff* Chocolate cookies at the neighbor’s house! I wish I lived there! Well, he soon remembered that his neighbors had said to come over anytime, and this was as good a time as any!

That was an enjoyable part of his day. Suffice it to say he ate lots of cookies and had some milk, and then he went home and went to bed.

Now my grandfather Frank had an active imagination. By day this is a superpower, but at night it is a horde of monsters. On this particular night he had been thinking of a robber. He had even imagined footsteps outside. Then he heard a noise—not an imaginary noise—a distinct gunshot: BLAM!

His eyes shot open. He shot up and grabbed his hunting gun. Then he heard more shots: BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! The robber was definitely in the attic—and had lots of bullets! Frank loaded and cocked his rifle. He snuck up the stairs, looking for the light cord. He found it, and decided to turn the light on—and in the perpetrator’s confusion, get him. He turned on the light, ran up the rest of the stairs, and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Reach for the sky!”

Frank suddenly realized that the attic was empty. There were four empty root beer bottles, and there was root beer everyway. With this information and the fact that their root beer contained yeast (and thus the longer the root beer sat, the fizzier and more powerful it became), Frank realized that the “gunshots” had been exploding root beer bottles.

B-r-r-r-r . . . Frank heard a car. Everybody had just gotten home! Frank suddenly realized who would be blamed, so he quickly went to bed and went to “sleep.” When his family came in, Frank’s parents checked on him. He pretended to be sound asleep and fooled them. His sisters, however, checked on the attic. They obviously wanted root beer. Boy, were they surprised when they saw the mess, and they had to clean it up.

Joshua Metcalf; Tennessee, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


Turnip Greens to Automobile

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA; c. 1946–1955

Back in 1946, my grandfather wanted a bike. He was seven years old at the time, and like most seven-year-old boys, he wanted a bike! Bikes were about forty dollars at the time, and my grandfather’s father didn’t have the money to buy a bike. My grandfather thought about how to get that bike. Finally, he had it—a way to earn forty dollars.

My grandfather went to my great-grandfather and asked how much his dad would give him if he cut and washed turnip greens from the family garden. My great-grandfather replied, “Ten cents a pound.” So my grandfather cut and washed, and cut and washed, and cut and washed until he had ten dollars. A bushel of turnips brought in about seventy cents. Between sowing, waiting, and harvesting, my grandfather wasn’t getting anywhere fast.

So my grandfather took his ten dollars in turnip-green money and bought a hog. He kept the hog in a fenced-in dog pen. My grandfather asked my great-grandfather, who owned a grocery store, for all of the store’s unsellable, rotten food. After a while of living on rotten fruits and vegetables, the hog was sold for forty dollars. Those forty dollars bought a bike!

That isn’t the end of the story—not by a pig’s tail. After a few years, my grandfather wanted a motor scooter. Unfortunately, motor scooters cost quite a bit of money. The lack of money hadn’t stopped my grandfather from getting a bike; it wouldn’t stop him from getting a motor scooter. My grandfather got a paper route and rode his bike on it. After a time, my grandfather saved enough for a motor scooter.

After a few more years, my grandfather, now sixteen years old, wanted a car. So with that trusty motor scooter, my grandfather got an expanded paper route. After a little while, the money from the extended paper route bought a car.

That’s how my grandfather went from a seven-year-old cleaning turnip greens to a sixteen-year-old driving a car. My grandfather showed he was industrious, and he persevered for things he wanted. That is pretty motivating to me!

Samuel Elijah Parkhurst; Tennessee, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


Don’t Drive the Truck!

Cañon City, Colorado, USA; 1947

My grandmother told me a story about my grandfather Doug Wertzbaugher that took place in 1947. Doug was ten years old, and he had an eleven-year-old brother named Chuck and a nine-year-old sister named Lulu. They lived in a small town in Colorado, and there were fields this way and that. Their father owned a big brown, somewhat rusted pickup truck.

When their mother and father weren’t looking, the three children would get in the pickup truck and start driving it. The only problem was that not one of the children was tall enough to reach the pedals, so they had to co-op drive. Doug would operate the pedals however Chuck told him to from the driver’s seat as he steered, and Lulu would ride shotgun and enjoy the ride.

When they got to their usual stop—the fields around their town where there were at least twenty kids every day eating Popsicles—they would invite the Popsicle-eating children into the bed of the pickup truck and give them a ride. Later they would have the children exit the bed, and they would stealthily ride home, park the truck, and act as if nothing had ever happened.

But one day things didn’t go as they should have. Everything began ordinarily. They snuck out and drove the truck to the field and had Popsicle-eating kids enter the bed of the pickup truck, which they rode around in, but the truck got stuck in a muddy ditch. So they snuck home without the pickup truck and acted like nothing had ever happened. Doug and Chuck were playing catch while Lulu walked around and picked various flowers and picked off their petals one by one while softly whispering something too quiet to hear.

By suppertime, their father had realized his truck was gone. He asked Doug and Chuck, “Have you boys seen my truck?”

Chuck was the one to answer, and he responded by saying, “Now that you mention it, when Doug and I went into the garage to get our baseball stuff, it wasn’t there.” Technically, he wasn’t lying.

When their father asked Lulu, she said, “Well, I haven’t got any idea of where it could be. But maybe someone stole it.”

“Oh, well, thanks for your help, sweetie,” he said.

The next day Lulu told her father that she had been thinking. She said, “Maybe a thief took it to the fields.”

Chuck, Doug, Lulu, and their father went to the fields, and it wasn’t long before they found the truck. When they reached it, it was in the very place they had left it—in a muddy ditch. Their father went to look at the bed of the pickup truck and saw . . . Popsicle sticks. “Oops!” Lulu said.

After that, the children didn’t see the truck for a while—or Popsicles, or what life was like outside of their rooms.

Brock T. Wertzbaugher; Ohio, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


My Life My Way

New York, New York; 1947

My grandpa Arthur wanted to take his life into his own hands. He wanted to make new steps, not follow in his father’s. In 1947 Arthur was eighteen. He was fresh from high school and living in New York City.

Arthur’s dad was a union organizer. He wanted Arthur to follow in his footsteps and be a unionized cutter in the garment center. A cutter takes big pieces of cloth and cuts them smaller. Arthur turned down his father, telling him he wanted to go to college. His father, Samuel, didn’t believe Arthur would make enough money, and refused to pay for his son’s college.

“Dad, I don’t want to be a cutter,” Arthur declared. “I want to go to college and be a doctor.”

“You’re not going to be able to afford medical school,” Samuel countered.

“With your help and my new job, I can go.”

“I’m not helping you! And what’s this about your ‘new job’?”

“I am going to start selling costume jewelry,” Arthur said proudly.

“Okay. Good luck going to school. Because if you want this life, you have to get it yourself.”

“Wait. Are you kicking me out?”

“You want your own life. It’s either live by yourself or pay rent,” Samuel said, smiling.

“Fine. How much is rent?”

“Ten dollars every week.”

“Deal. Now I am going to go find some costume jewelry,” Arthur said, while holding out his hand.

“Deal,” Samuel said, returning the favor and shaking his hand.

Arthur walked out, shaking his head. “How am I going to pay rent and go to medical school? I could live in my own apartment with that money!” Arthur thought. He quickly started selling jewelry. He made a good income and managed to pay his dad’s crazy rent each week.

Arthur went to community college at night and sold costume jewelry by day. Each time he paid his rent, he could tell that his father was waiting for the day Arthur would come running back to him for money and help. Of course, that day would never come. Grannie Annie student illustration of a graduate in cap and gown, by the author of this story, Alison Siegel

Arthur, after three years of hard work, graduated from college with a smile on his face and hope in his heart that he would go to medical school. “Dad! Dad!” Arthur yelled with happiness, “I did it! I graduated from college, Dad!”

“I guess you did,” Samuel paused, “after all.” So where are you going next?”

“Well . . .”


“Well, I want to go to medical school, but I need your help,” Arthur pleaded.

“Your life, your hardships. You could have become a cutter and been fine!” Samuel repeated.

Arthur went to law school instead. Then he moved out and bought an apartment. This story is very meaningful and has a lot of lessons. My favorite is to always pursue what you want and not let anyone stop you. I admire Arthur for being so determined to go to college. I will always remember and cherish this story.

Alison Siegel, author and illustrator; Colorado, USA


The Neighborhood Olympics

the Bronx, New York, New York, USA; c. 1948

“It was 6:00 a.m., and my alarm had just gone off. I leaped out of my bed, dashed to the window, and tore open the curtain. It was a beautiful Saturday morning in the middle of summer. Just the kind of day all boys love—it was a great day for an adventure!

“I quickly changed and charged out the door of our apartment building and onto the busy sidewalk of my South Bronx neighborhood. Immediately I hurried toward the place where our annual neighborhood Olympics was held. It was a small park across from my favorite restaurant, Lombardi’s, a pizza place that my family and I go to occasionally. When I arrived, I discovered that a few of my stickball teammates were already there, because they lived close to our field and our games were first.

“Three hours later it was the bottom of the ninth, and there were no outs. The Highbridge Bombers were up for their last at-bats. There were men on first and second base. At shortstop, I wiped my sweaty hands on my pants and waited for the pitch. Our team was up 5–4, but you never know what will happen in close games like this. So far, our team had blazed through the tournament without any tightly contested games. But now, in the championship game, it looked like we had finally met our match. The game had been back and forth until the seventh inning, when we gave our defense some breathing room by scoring three runs.

“CRACK! The loud noise of stick and sock ball colliding sent me back to reality and diving to my left for a fast bouncer. I quickly got up from my position between second and third base and flipped the ball to third for the first out.

“Unfortunately, our pitcher walked the next batter and seemed to be getting a bit nervous. We called a timeout, and our team huddled at the mound to converse with our ace. After the discussion, he seemed calmer and set his sights on striking the next hitter out. We breathed a sign of relief when he did just that.

“Then I gulped. My cousin Charlie was coming up to the plate. Of all the batters on the other teams, he was the one I would least like to pitch to. After two strikes he rubbed his hands together and grinned at our pitcher in such a way that it looked like he was saying “Bring it on!” The next pitch was a curveball, and Charlie smashed it.

“The ball was going deep, maybe even out of the park. I held my breath and watched as our center fielder, Joe, snagged the ball just before it hit the ground! Hooray! We had won! The whole team jumped on Joe and congratulated him. This was one of the happiest moments of my life.”

My grandfather’s voice drifted off, and you could see that he was still in that moment. . . .

Alex Marin; North Carolina, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)


My Mother, the Bear

Swanton, Ohio, USA; 1948

It was the winter of 1948 when my grandpa (we call him “Papa”) came the closest he has ever come to passing out. He grew up on a farm and had many chores, one of them being to milk the cows. At that time, there was word out that there were black bears in the northwest Ohio area. The rumor made everyone fear seeing a bear.

On my papa’s farm the only bathroom was the outhouse, about 150 yards away from the farmhouse. After milking the cows was finally completed, my papa was to go out to the outhouse to relieve himself before he went back inside his house to get ready for bed. With “black bears” loose, my papa would run to the outhouse as fast as his legs could carry him. He would then do his daily routine of reaching his hand inside the dark outhouse and feeling around the familiar area to make sure that there was nothing or no one inside it.

Well, on this particularly cold and windy evening, after his chore of milking the cows was done, he ran toward the outhouse. He did his usual routine of reaching his hand inside the outhouse. But this time he was not to find the outhouse empty. Instead, he felt thick, cozy fur in place of the usual emptiness. That is when my papa screamed, and froze in his tracks.

Suddenly a familiar voice came from within the outhouse. “Joey, it’s me.” He immediately recognized the voice of his mother. She had on her large muskrat fur coat, because it was so cold that night. When his hand had touched the fur coat, my papa had immediately thought that a black bear was in the outhouse.

What a great relief to realize that it was not a big black bear, but his own mother. My papa’s brothers and sisters thought that it was very amusing, but being a twelve-year-old, he did not. Years later, he was able to laugh and tell stories about his scary night of meeting the “bear” in the dark outhouse.

Jane Robertson; Ohio, USA

(This story is also included in Grannie Annie, Vol. 7.)



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student art of child looking through a store window at a bike for sale
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Individual authors
retain the copyrights to
their works, which are
published here with

The setting of each story is
noted below its title. In
cases where the exact year
is not known, “c.” (circa)
indicates that the year given
is approximate.


Stories on this page:

1. Billy the Goat
(c. 1941)
Brianna Jones
Alabama, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

2. The Six Fiancés
(c. 1942)
Tristan Hecht
Colorado, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

3. One More Survivor
Caleb Wedgle
Colorado, USA

4. The Escape
Katie Korein
Missouri, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

5. The Definition of
a Nightmare
(c. 1940s)
Nick Hugeri
Arizona, USA

6. Peanuts
(c. 1945–1946)
Shelby Lloyd
Alabama, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

7. The Attic Attack
(c. 1945)
Joshua Metcalf
Tennessee, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

8. Turnip Greens to
(c. 1946–1955)
Samuel Elijah Parkhurst
Tennessee, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

9. Don’t Drive the
Truck! (1947)
Brock T. Wertzbaugher
Ohio, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

10. My Life My Way
Alison Siegel
Colorado, USA

11. The Neighborhood
(c. 1948)
Alex Marin
North Carolina, USA
(also in Vol. 7)

12. My Mother, the
Bear (1948)
Jane Robertson
Ohio, USA
(also in Vol. 7)



Click here to read additional
stories from the 2011/2012
celebration as well as stories
from previous years.

Looking for stories on a
particular topic or theme?
Consult our Index of
. (This year's stories
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